TODAY -

Regional Seminar on Corruption and Governance in North East India
Last Date - September 10, 2016



CALL FOR PAPERS
Three Days Regional Seminar
CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE IN NORTH EAST INDIA
September 16 – 18, 2016, Imphal, Manipur


The Department of Social Work, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus, Manipur and Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University is organising a Three Days Regional Seminar on Corruption and Governance in North East India. The seminar is sponsored by NEC, Shillong.

Interested individuals can submit abstract (about 500 words) in English and Manipuri with author profile (around 50 words) on any of the sub-themes given below on or before September 10, 2016 to or call +918119954755

1. Corruption and Citizen Services
2. Corruption and Tribal Development
3. Corruption and Human Development
4. Anti Corruption Movement and Perspectives on Good Governance
5. Any other relevant to the theme

Registration fees: Rs 400 (four hundred) only for students/research scholars and Rs 500 (five hundred) only for others.

Sd/-
(Dr. Hanjabam Shukhdeba Sharma)
Seminar Coordinator

Three Days Regional Seminar
CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE IN NORTH EAST INDIA


Organised by
Department of Social Work
Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (A Central University),
Regional Campus, Manipur
&
Centre for Manipur Studies,
Manipur University (A Central University),

Date: 16-18 September, 2016
Venue: Imphal

Concept Note:

Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri Okram Ibobi Singh acknowledged and assured on the floor of the State Assembly that his Government would take up appropriate steps to deal with the phenomena of paying bribes or using contacts to get a job done in the State Secretariat (Hueiyen News Service (2014), CM Ibobi assures a clean 'Secretariat, Imphal, July 17). The assurance came after the Opposition in the House charged that officials from the lowest to the highest level in the Secretariat are taking money from the public without any inhibition for moving files from desk to desk. The acknowledgement from the lips of the Chieftain of Manipur is a clear indication that corruption is a reality and in fact an open secret in Manipur. However, there was no report of action or intervention to deal with the situation.

The inaction of Chief Minister was understandable as reported in WikiLeaks. In a September 2006 confidential cable released by WikiLeaks, Henry Jardine, principal officer, US consulate general in Kolkata, underscored the corrupt state of affairs in Manipur. The US official, reporting that rampant corruption was complicating the effort to control rising violence in the state, also mentioned that chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh was known as “Mr. Ten Percent”, for the amount of money that he takes from contracts and government projects.

The report further observed that officials and private individuals agreed that many key government officers and politicians receive kick-backs and skim-off money from government funds. Even the protocol officer facilitating Jardine's trip had said that the government was incapable of handling the situation as all the officials were more interested in their own enrichment (Sanjib Kr Baruah (2011), Manipur CM is corrupt: WikiLeaks, , Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Mar 21, 11:43). These are the same parasites who are supposed to be responsible for citizen oriented governance or delivering good governance to the people.

Corruption has been freely practicing without the fear of prosecution by those occupying the ivory tower and office of the highest authority. For instance, Khomdon Lisam (2014) (Wake Up Call To All Voters Of Manipur,Part 2, E-Pao. Net, April 14,) observed that, in Manipur, the Ministers and MLAs become contractors. The genuine contractors have disappeared. We can count, how many MLAs and Ministers are having JCV machines. The rules and procedures of contract work are often not followed. Anybody on the street can quote the price tag for the post of a SI, ASI , Constable in the police department or for the post of a Clerk or Nurse in the Government Department or RIMS. It is said that the market price of one SI is Rs. 15-25 lakhs , for one ASI, it is 7-10 lakhs and for one Constable, a clerk 5-7 lakhs or a Nurse, it is 13-15 lakhs depending on the political connection. Almost every Government servant has to pay bribe for posting in the valley. Corruption in Manipur has become something respectable because so many respectable people are involved in it. The common people have to sell their paddy field or homestead to bribe the ministers for getting a job.

The educated youths are terribly frustrated to see the level of corruption in Manipur. This has led to failure of governance as well as for increasing magnitude of scams in the state. Remember, siphoning off of allowances and dues, amounting to crores of rupees, to the Manipur Rifles personnel for the period 1996 to 1998 by top officials. PDS rice scam in 2013 and before and the present scams over Loktak Lake and Mapithel Dam, etc.

In fact, corruption and scam have become the defining characteristics of modern India itself. Ajit Dival, in his 2011 article “India’s Plundered Money Abroad: Can We Get It Back?”, observed that scams in government are characterized by large volumes of money and important functionaries of the government being involved. Prof. Arun Kumar, a noted authority on black money in India observes, “While the 1980s saw eight major scams, there were 26 during the period between 1991 and 1996 and there were around 150 scams during 2005-08.” The graph is co-terminus with increase in the volume of black money and the Indian money stashed abroad. The question of transparency and accountability which is the core of good governance has been subsumed by the present system of Institutional culture of corruption. But one cannot take respite from the given affairs of India and say that compared to India or other Indian states, the magnitude of corruption and scam in Manipur is low. What one needs to be reminded here is that the culture of corruption is the real threat to governance in Manipur or elsewhere.

New breeds of technocrats and new generation of political class are increasingly relying on e-governance such as e-administration, e-citizens and e-society, etc. to curb corruption and bring about transparency and accountability (in short good governance). However, such aspirations largely remain on paper although the idea was already initiated decades ago in almost every states of India including Manipur. It will not be an exaggeration to state that only the office or the people associated with e-governance know about e-governance. It has failed to reach out to the citizen especially those living in the rural and hill areas where basic IT infrastructure is absent.

In fact, the whole process of e-governance seems to be meaningless so far. Websites of the government clearly indicates its pathetic situation. Some of the departments do not even maintain their websites and if at all there are, they are filled with incomplete and outdated information. Instead of providing services to citizen through their websites, the government still prefers to do it manually. It only creates inconveniences to the citizens as well also creates space for corruption. It is said that the government also increased the procuring of papers and files when they are procuring the digital system such as computers, internet etc.

Failure of governance is reflected in the ever-growing grievances of the citizens over the functioning of all the sectors of government services such as healthcare, education, connectivity, electricity and government schemes, etc. There is no department that the citizens can appreciate for their service. In addition, the growing mob-violence and the panic buying during bandhs and blockades is another indication of the lack of trust in the government. This has failed to ignite and kick start a pathway to development, in the sense that Government refuses to feel the pulse of the citizens. The crux of the problems lies in the inability of the state to adorn the real essence of development.

For instance, huge construction works (read infrastructure development) which should be treated as a means to an end is treated as an end itself. Such a mentality as well as process has resulted in the mushrooming up of petty contractors. Construction works and state service sectors have been the site of public experience of development. Moreover, the hype over Look East Policy, (now Act East Policy) has also resulted in massive increase of construction works in the state ranging from highway projects, airport expansion, and mega dams. It is difficult to understand how far, all these processes have contributed to the wellbeing of the citizens.

Important central sponsored schemes involving education, health, sanitation, and livelihood which is the main concern of the citizens are in logjam due to weak governance. The state has completely failed in propagating such schemes as the real development ingredients. Such schemes are caught in low level equilibrium trap and there is complete policy paralysis in the part of state government. The incomplete construction work of the two national highways for more than two decades is another example of lack of transparency and accountability.

Ajit Doval observed that the increase in corruption or black money is a consequence of faulty policies, inadequate laws, institutional decay and lack of transparency in governance. Almost every economic activity in India from sales of agricultural produce by farmers to procurement of defence equipments is plagued with bribery, speed money, corruption or kick backs. The malice, which is both systemic and systematic, not only affects the government and the public sector but also the private sector. It has not only led to economic deprivation and degeneration of a country but also seriously undermines the authority of the government and the rule of law.

The black money in India has been estimated by Prof. Arun Kumar with 4 percent of GDP in 1955-56 to the present 50 percent. Similarly, it can be estimated more easily for Manipur as the major corrupt practices are directly link to government activities such as recruitment, contract work for basic infrastructure and manipulation in the social security schemes. A Special Committee to review of such activities along with income appropriateness of government official, politicians and link contractors can easily reveal the situation, its sources, process and measure to check the practices.

The newly introduced Direct Benefit Transfer for the subsidy particularly of LPG, conceptualized by the UPA and implemented by the NDA is one such measure. The expectations of the citizen have increase with the digitization approach (Digital India Initiatives) of the new government which has the capability to ensure transparency and accountability which is the cornerstones of any citizen centered development approach.

With this background, the proposed seminar seeks to examine the following sub theme
1. Corruption and Citizen Services
2. Corruption and Tribal Development
3. Corruption and Human Development
4. Anti Corruption Movement and Perspectives on Good Governance
5. Any other relevant to the theme

Contact:
Dr. Hanjabam Shukhdeba Sharma
Department of Social Work, IGNTU, RCM
Email: hanjabam@gmail.com

Dr. Aheibam Koireng Singh
Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University
Email: akoireng@gmail.com

Dr. Grace Laltlinzo,
Department of Social Work, IGNTU, RCM
Email: grace_laltlinzo@rediffmail.com

Dr. Kamei Beeju,
Department of Social Work, IGNTU, RCM
Email: junakams@gmail.com


* This information is sent by Dr. Hanjabam Shukhdeba who can be contacted at hanjabam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Post is webcasted on August 30 2016

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